Term of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

T. C. Chan

Committee Member 2

Cathy S. Jording

Committee Member 3

Fred M. Page


The term "assistant principal" did not begin to appear in educational literature until the 1940s and 1950s, due in part to the tenuous nature of the position and to the lack of a definitive description for this role in leadership. The position of assistant principal still remains largely undefined and the role varies from school to school. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a significant difference in the perceptions of elementary school principals on the ideal and actual role and responsibilities of assistant principals as measured by the Principals' Perceptions of Assistant Principal Responsibilities Survey (PPoAPRS) instrument. This instrument measures the principals'extent of agreement on two four-point Likert scales (Ideal and Actual) that the 64 delineated leadership competencies ideally should be or actually are practiced by the assistant principals. The effect of several variables including the sex of the principal, the sex of the assistant principal, the size of the school, the principals' years of administrative experience, and the principal's mentoring relationship with the assistant principal, along with the principals' beliefs about the process of mentoring were also examined. The participants (N = 147) were from those Georgia public elementary school principals serving grades K-5 (N = 223). Following a field test to establish the reliability of the PPoAPRS instrument, survey packets were mailed to the identified K-5 principals. The results of this study indicated that the participants perceived their assistant principals did not play their roles or assume their responsibilities as they should. Neither the sex of the principal or of the assistant principal or the principals' years of administrative experience made any difference in the principals' perceptions of the assistant principals' roles and responsibilities. However, those principals in larger schools did perceive the actual roles and responsibilities of assistant principals differently from principals in smaller schools. In the mentoring process, those principals who extensively mentored their assistant principals perceived less difference between the ideal and actual roles and responsibilities of assistant principals. A small percentage of the principals surveyed agreed that the assistant principalship should provide a meaningful training ground for the principalship.


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